Former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) has a heart felt plea for “health care reform now” on the Washington Post op-ed page today. And it is true, the American people want health care reform. But the op-ed is strikingly devoid of details, and the one it does include, “universal health care” is not encouraging.

Conservatives are the first to admit that there are major problems with our current health care system, especially the accelerating government takeover of health care spending. There are alternatives to government run health care. The health care reform Americans deserve includes:

  • Creating a level playing field of competing private plans and real choice like the one available to Members of Congress. Do not allow a “public plan” to undermine Americans existing private coverage.
  • Reforming the tax treatment of health insurance to make it more equitable and efficient for taxpaying families.
  • Using incentives and perhaps automatic enrollment in private plans, not government mandates, to foster wider coverage.
  • Refocusing employment-based coverage to promote family control and choice rather than mandating employers to offer government-defined coverage.
  • Saying “no” to a Daschle-like Federal Health Board.
  • Taking bold action to allow states to experiment with better ways of reaching the nation’s health coverage goals rather than imposing a national plan on states and families.

While Americans express frustration with our current health system and want action to make coverage more dependable and affordable, they also want the nation’s health system to retain important principles and features. Chief among them is Americans demand for choice, which is a public health plan that will undermine existing coverage and a Federal Health Board that will ration away patient-centered decision making, must be avoided at all costs.